“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14 NIV)
In my home, we are deep in the throes of puberty. With four kids ranging in age from 8 to 17, we have ALL of the feelings and hormones and changes happening on all different levels. My pre-teen and I have been reading through a book that does a wonderful job explaining the way that God designed her body, and how her body is going through changes that will allow her to bear a child someday. What an amazing Creator we have!
And yet. I have struggled with how to explain the beauty and angst of all that her body will go through in light of the fact that my body never fulfilled that purpose. Although my home is overflowing with children, none of them came from my womb. I was taught, and I internalized, that my body was designed for childbearing. When my husband and I received an infertility diagnosis, it wrecked my sense of self. For years, my period was accompanied each month with intense feelings of grief, anger, and a deep sense of loss. What was the point of my body, and who was I really, if I couldn’t conceive and carry a child?
But in His grace, God has taught me the value of my body, the value of my personhood, outside of my fertility. Because although our physical bodies are only temporary, they are with us for all of our earthly days. And just as our lives have a purpose, I believe my body is a part of the plan God has for my life.
- God made my body to worship. I raise my voice to sing His praises. My eyes read His words and my ears hear the teaching of others.
- God made my body to nurture. I continually accumulate plants and pets that need my care.
- God made my body to move and to play. I can run and bike and swim. I play catch and tag and pickleball.
- God made my body to serve, whether in our home, our church, at my job, or in our neighborhood.
- God made my body for rest. I crave quiet moments and cherish long naps.
- God made my body to feel deeply, both joy and grief, and to share those feelings with others.
And ultimately, God made my body to mother. Four children have entered our home through foster care and stayed as our adopted sons and daughters. Others have come for a few days and nights as needed. And my body cared for them. God made my body to soothe sore tummies in the middle of the night. To speak words of wisdom and share silly stories. To sing endless songs and drive to endless practices. God made my body to lead and to follow, up and down and back and forth and anywhere that He would have me to go. God made my body for good, even if it wasn’t in the way I had always anticipated.
Mindy Groff is a wife, mom, and children’s librarian. She is passionate about Jesus, foster care and adoption, writing, and mental health. She is currently working on a book about the intersection of all those things. Follow along with her adventures on Instagram and Facebook.